Incessantly cited as a metaphor for these strange times over four seasons, “The Handmaid’s Tale” returned in this fifth year less allegorical, more realistic and not without its incredible ability to anguish.
With much of the action transposed to Canada, the ghosts only seem more human and therefore scarier. With each new wave of episodes, after all, the fiction imagined by Margaret Atwood and brought to the screen by Bruce Miller converges more and more with the news (see Iranian women burning hijabs last week).
And June, the heroine—in the literary sense, of going through the story’s main transformational journey—is far from pristine as so many good guys and gals are.
His trials are very concrete, his anger has sinister consequences, and his revenge is not just an idea. It’s an extrapolation of what people often call, ironically, “hatred for the good”—because its target is considered legitimate by many, it would be okay to skip steps and exchange justice and conventional means for justice.
The interpretation of Elisabeth Moss, practically an exposed nerve on stage, produces a ravishing character.
June’s suffering is so brutal that the viewer sinks with her until he finds himself cornered by the same dilemmas. Killing is no solution, and the late epiphany costs the character the disappointment of his entourage.
Dissatisfied with the fact that the promised revenge is limited to the leader’s executioner, the runaway handmaids demand
of the protagonist the continuity of the extermination in Gilead.
A scenario for almost the entirety of the other seasons, the country founded by religious radicals is now presented much more as an idea than as a place.
The first example of this is the scene in which one of the masterminds of the partition and the system of sexual exploitation of Gilead, Serena Joy (the stupendous Yvonne Strahovski), discovers that she has supporters — and not a few — in liberal Canada.
Widowed, her powers of oratory, persuasion and political manipulation no longer meet the limiter that was Fred (Joseph Fiennes), whose intelligence and ambition were always less than his wife’s.
The second proof is in June herself, who, as in Greek tragedies, cannot escape fate, and perhaps doesn’t even want to. The question of atonement, expressed in this season’s motto (“some sins cannot be washed away”), is shown to be strong in the character’s hesitation with new life.
It remains to be seen what role the series has for Tia Lídia, one of the most nefarious villains of recent dramaturgy, now resentful of her masters.
The captain of the moral watchdogs of Gilead will be in the series’ spinoff, “The Testaments”, inspired by the literary sequel published by Atwood in 2019 and set 15 years after the events of the original book. Before, however, the women will go through one more season, the sixth, confirmed by the producers of the series when they launched the current one.
The expectation, unless some producer comes up with a wild idea, is to be the last one.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has new episodes every Sunday on Paramount+; “Os Testaments” was published in Brazil by Rocco
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